By Ralph Frasca
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Extra resources for BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S PRINTING NETWORK: DISSEMINATING VIRTUE IN EARLY AMERICA
Apprentices cost little more than food and a room in the house, were usually bound for at least seven years, and could be trained to perform many of the journeymen’s duties. This arrangement allowed printers to hire fewer jour16 neymen and thus pay fewer—and lower—wages. Reliance on apprentices came at a price. If they mastered the trade too soon, they could run away. Franklin did, and so did one of his closest associates and network members, James Parker. On January 1, 1726, Parker, at about age eleven, signed an apprenticeship indenture with New York printer 17 William Bradford for a term of eight years.
However, he clearly understood from his own experiences that these were acquired, rather than innate, skills. To embrace virtue, people must learn “the Principles of the Art, be shewn all the Methods of Working, and how to acquire the Habits of using properly all the Instruments; and thus regularly and gradually” arrive “by Practice at some Perfection in the Art,” Franklin as41 serted. Thus, Franklin viewed it as one of his life’s duties to teach people the “art” of virtuous conduct and show them how to practice it daily.
3 The Moral Foundations of Franklin’s Journalism Benjamin Franklin’s religious beliefs confused many observers. John Adams wrote disparagingly, “the Catholics thought him almost a Catholic. The Church of England claimed him as one of them. The Presbyterians thought him half a Presbyterian, and the Friends believed him a wet Quaker. ” Adams and some other contemporaries viewed Franklin’s religious convictions as superficial and ill-formed, and Franklin conceded that he flirted with deism during his youth.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S PRINTING NETWORK: DISSEMINATING VIRTUE IN EARLY AMERICA by Ralph Frasca